Sun Journal wins 16 first-place awards

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NEWRY — The Maine Sunday Telegram was named Maine’s Sunday newspaper of the year and the Bangor Daily News was named the state’s daily newspaper of the year at the Maine Press Association annual conference held at Sunday River Saturday.

J.W. Oliver, editor of the Lincoln County News, was named Journalist of the Year.

The Sun Journal was awarded 10 top awards for writing, four first-place awards for photography, and two first-place awards for design.

Staff Writer Lindsay Tice brought home three first-place writing awards, including the top investigative reporting award for her examination of the former St. Joseph’s Orphanage and the abuse young children endured there. The piece, titled “‘Horrors’ and healing,” included interviews with multiple former residents who have suffered for decades in silence, and who were just coming to terms — and to peace — with their past.

The piece also won first place in the category of religion reporting.

Tice also won top honors in environmental reporting for her report on the struggle for survival of Maine bats that are succumbing to white-nose syndrome.

Tice and Staff Writer Kathryn Skelton shared two first-place awards, one for education and the second in the continuing story category.

The education  award was for the report titled “What’s on a young teen’s mind?,” published in the shadow of the suicide death of a Lewiston Middle School student. The report took a hard look at suicide, cutting, bullying, social media and the pressures of the middle school years, and what adults are doing to counteract damaging behaviors.

The piece also won first place in the continuing story category, as part of a group of reports about bullying, increasing visits to local emergency departments by students in crisis, whether smartphones are detrimental to healthy development of social skills, and what students are saying about themselves, their peers and their academic and social environments.

Skelton won two first-place awards for business and analysis.

In the business-writing category, Skelton’s report titled “Growing market” was an in-depth look at the rush of retail marijuana prospectors who are buying up available real estate to establish grow operations across the state.

Her analysis piece, titled “Sticker cheats,” took a hard look at how counterfeit inspection stickers are creating a headache for Maine law enforcement and allowing poorly maintained and dangerous vehicles on Maine roads.

Staff Writer Mark LaFlamme picked up a first place award in the food story category for his lively, first-person account of working the lunch line at Auburn Middle School, and the organized chaos that is supervised by the school’s beloved lunch ladies.

Managing Editor/days Mark Mogensen, who is regularly recognized for his feature headline writing, won a first-place award for his headline “Shopping? Appy days are here,” on a story about how customers are increasingly using apps to pre-order, get discounts, earn freebies and skip the lines.

Executive Editor Judith Meyer won first place in editorial writing for her piece titled “Johnston: Where did facts and fairness go?,” explaining the Sun Journal’s reporting on the death of former WCSH meteorologist Tom Johnston in April 2017 and the newspaper’s obligation to report verifiable facts and not hearsay.

Staff Photographer Daryn Slover won two first-place awards, one in the news category for an image of an Auburn teen who had shoveled off just enough of a basketball court to play a solo game of hoops following a sudden snowstorm, and the second in the feature category of an Auburn man furiously cleaning fiddleheads using a fan to spray away plant debris.

Chief Photographer Russell Dillingham won two first-place awards, one in the spot news category and one for a scenic aerial photo taken of children swimming in the Kennedy Park pool in Lewiston. The spot news photo was shot at the instant police arrested a man who had led them on a chase through the woods after an overnight standoff in Buckfield in November.

Former Chief Designer Heather McCarthy, who retired from the Sun Journal in early summer, won a first-place award for her front page design “Miracles from Maine,” highlighting the innovative work being done in laboratories across the state.

And, the Sports staff won a first place award in design for its display of the Oxford 250 driver Curtis Gerry in the winner circle in 2017. The prominent headline, “Captain Curt,” a play on Gerry’s first name.

The Sun Journal brought home 15 second-place awards for online reporting, photography, design, sports, writing and freedom of information. And, 11 third-place awards for photography, online reporting and writing.

For a complete look at the Sun Journal’s award-winning work, go to:  http://www.sunjournal.com/mpa2018/.

Daryn SloverHeather McCarthy
Judith Meyer Kathryn Skelton2017 head and shoulders photo of Lindsay TiceMark MogensenRuss Dillingham 2014

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